Hoops Talk

The Debate

January 30th, 2013

A listing of NCAA League Basketball Conference Standings in yesterday's USA Today , which included 29 Conferences, but NOT the Big West, crystalized for me a discussion that many of you have discussed with me over the past few weeks. The discussion is are we better off in a weak league like the Big West, where, arguably, we have a chance to win the regular season championship or the post season tournament, and therfore go to real post season, or is the quality of the play so mediocre that real basketball fans are staying away from attending the games or even caring about the season. A comment to Monday's blog sort of summarizes the issue by pointing out what would happen this year if the basketball Bows were in the Mountain West.

Now maybe USA had an editing mistake and that's why the Big West was omitted. The list included even worse leagues like The SWAC and Great West. And we all know UH apparently didnt have an opition as to where its non-football teams ended up. But the discussion is worth having and i would like to hear from you folks. As a fan, do you care what league we play in, no matter the quality of play, so long as we can compete for the post season, or do care more about watching and following better teams and better quality of play as a basketball fan.?

I must admit i miss even WAC basketball. There are no teams this year in the Big West that can compare even to former WAC opponents like Nevada, Boise, New Mexico State, and Utah State. And forget about the Mountain West with teams like San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, etc. Frankly, playing this year in the Big West is like playing San Jose every game ( and that's before San Jose became even marginally competitive. Is this a down year in the Big West. Folks who have followed the league say it is, but even when it was not a " down year", only a team or two like Long Beach, made the National radar. On the other hand, at least presently, could UH have a prayer of winning the " old" WAC or MWC. Not likely, and that's been the situation for at least the last 5 years.

So lets have the discussion. I know its not as if UH has a choice, at least not now, but its worth talking about. As UH goes off to play Riverside, 5-15 and 2-6 in the Big West, in a game they simply cannot afford to lose if they want to compete for the top third of the league, i look forward to your opinions. Its the big fish in the little pond vrs little fish in the big pond, or do you buy the cheapest house in a great neighborhood or the largest house in a poorer neighborhood argument. Although a few of you tell me based upon league play so far, UH is not exactly dominating the league as is. I love it

Jeff Portnoy is a member of the UH Board of Regents. The views expressed here are his and do not reflect those of the board.

Posted in 1 | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “The Debate”

  1. hossana:

    Hawaii is no better nor any worse than the Big West teams so stop trying to elevate Hawaii's status as we really don't belong in a better conference. I can see where Hawaii was dominating etc..but Hawaii is a mediocre basketball team at best and to say we belong in a better conference or we miss the WAC is foolhardy as we belong where we're currently and until Hawaii can prove that they belong in a better conference stop with this nonsense already.

  2. K-Bay:

    RE-POSTED (to stay with the discussion:)
    K-Bay: January 30th, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Hoops Talk Tonight!
    Thanks, Jeff, Thanks, Jackson

    Go 'Bows
    Go Warriors!

    GO/Transfer to The Mountain West for Basketball...
    YES, We'll TAKE A FINANCIAL Beating paying for THEIR Chartered BB Trips
    BUT We "SHOULD" Make More Home Income during the Conference Season

    11-9 would be the Second WORST Overall MW Record,
    (NOT Upper Half like BW)
    Can you "Imagine" How Much Better OUR Team Would HAVE TO Play in the Mountain West
    Playing New Mexico, UNLV, SDSU, Utah State and even Boise's better than Most of the BW...
    The MWC Can More easily schedule Twelve Teams and Travel in Pairs, probably Best In Two Divisions like Football;
    SDSU, Fresno & San Jose still give you a strong Cali Recruiting/VISITATION Base Plus Nevada

    MR. JAY,

  3. K-Bay:

    ADDING A Thought...
    YOU Can't BEAT the Best, Unless You're Playing The Best...

    Right Now ... We STOP Doing That in Late December
    (Sure LBSU, Santa Barbara, Fullerton, etc. 'could' be better Next Year...)

  4. Orioles 4 eva.:

    In real estate, its always best to buy the smallest home in the best neighborhood, which would put us in the Mountain West. Personally, Hawaii is so weak that it is better for us to be in the Big West, this year.

  5. Shoko:

    Basketball is one of the two revenue-generating programs at the Division I level. You want that program in a conference that gives it the best chance of maximizing its earning potential, increase its exposure and attendence, as well as attract top recruits.

    You're not going to get that in the Big West.

    Only problem for UH is that it doesn't have the bargaining power or the leverage to negotiate an invitation at the moment. Maybe in the future when the MBB team consistently makes the NCAA Tourney and brands itself as a yearly contendeer.

    Or we could bribe the MW with travel susbsidies.

  6. Manoa Mist:

    Great subject. UH basketball has basically turned into a glorified HPU outfit. To me the only real DI talent is Vander. Still, Big West hoops pretty much sucks. There was a game UH won where the other team shot like 3 for 27 from three point land yet UH barely won and they had 23 turnovers. This is not DI hoops. Yet Gib says the RPI don't matter cause you win the tourney you go to the big dance. Of course the RPI matters. You want to be the best you play the best. More fans will come out for name teams. You don't get better playing chumps. Of course, when you play with chumps and can barely play .500 ball, that makes you a chump too.

  7. Hoop Jones:

    Casual fans wont come to the games unless UH is winning most of them, regardless of the quality of its opponents. I personally would love to see UNLV or San Diego State instead of UC _____ every week, but i fail to see how being a bottom dweller in a better conference would sell more tickets than being a contender in a worse one.

  8. Pablo Wegesend:

    In my dreams (and yours) UH would be in the Pac-12!

    However, If UH wants to be in a major conference, THEY NEED TO EARN IT!

    So far, the UH basketball teams have NOT been dominant enough to even be conisdered (much less invited) to a more prestigious conference. That will only change if UH wins conference titles for more than 3 consecutive seasons!

    Until then, I think this conversation of "UH needs a better conference than the Big West" is a total waste of time!

  9. greenthumb:

    I remember better, more competitive times, as well as the lean years. Now, there are some who love the sport and our team so much that they remain loyal and boost the turnstile counts no matter what. However, for the future health of our beloved program, we need a tougher schedule all season long. As earlier posters have said so eloquently, challenges breed team growth and future player and opponent prospects alike.

    Remember a decade and a half ago, when the team's star was on the rise and we beat a stellar opponent in the Rainbow Classic as decided underdogs? The adrenaline rush, the next-day hoarseness, even the tears, all unforgettable. That night was a reward for the team and the faithful, and if we ended up with bandwagon fans afterward, so what? They swelled the ranks and gave the players added encouragement.

    The nightmare prospect to me is becoming a venue with a smattering of fans in the stands like a certain former WAC opponent whose gym was adorned with that trademark blue velour. We need strong opponents, long term rivalries (think Fresno and Tark and Chris Herren as just one example), and schedule stability. With that, I think, the fan base will solidify and with wins will grow.

  10. hon2255:

    Agree with Jeff,we should be and belong in the Mtn West , better rivals, better quality of play, better venues not gyms , but ARENAS! , As we upscale our quality of student athletes our athletic director Ben Jay should take a serious look at moving the men's bb program to the Mtn West. These are where all our rivals are and this is the caliber of play our program should be competing at . Gib has to step it up. Let's make the move Warriors.

  11. pali:

    The Big West Conference is a California small university league that's a step above DII. UH is fortunate to be able to use it as a temporary conference until our team/coaching improves to be competitive with bigger, stronger schools. No school wants to be in this conference because there is no credibility. The future of where we really end up is in Gib's court, though I'm not sure about next year, especially with a new AD.

  12. K-Bay:

    BTW Based on the Hoops Talk Radio Show...

    The Ones who say we haven't earned it weren't paying attention...
    While the Last Five to Seven Years have ranged from Mediocre to Horrid
    UH was still in The Upper Half of Most Winning Programs WAC & MWC
    (Opinion: It was Primarily The "Old Guard" of The Mountain West that has resisted inviting Hawai'i among Most WAC or Ex-WAC schools....for Football THEN Basketball)

    SO ... I'd (Most of US) "Rather Soon Be The BIG Fish in the Big Pond On The Best Property in the Best Neighborhood" WHILE That May Seem FAR AWAY, The SUGAR BOWL, Boise & Utah in Football and Butler, Baylor, Gonzaga, George Mason, et.al. in Basketball have shown with a few good teams You CAN Get There from Almost Anywhere ... AND We Get to Start in Paradise ... IF a Few More of The Millionaires (We're Near the Top Per Capita) and Near or Certified Billionaires Kick In a Big Bit More ... we may be Flyin' Higher "Soon"-er ...

    BTW .. GREAT TOPIC, V.Good Radio Show ! ... Lively BLOG ...

    GO 'Bows
    Go Warriors!
    Then WIN Again (& Again)

    REQUEST WIN ʻEM ALL IN A ROW! A Vey Long Row...

  13. Alex:

    Hawaii needs to be a dominating team in the Big West before they can even begin to think about playing in another conference such as the Mountain West. As a fan, I certainly don't get excited to play teams such as UC-Riverside or Cal Fullerton and I believe as a result, the attendance suffers. Unfortunately for Hawaii, we can't even beat "mediocre" teams this year in the Big West. How do you gauge Hawaii's progress over the past 3 years in the Gib era? I don't think we have been progressing much. I guess if we can't win the conference, its a good indication we need a change.

  14. Hoosier:

    Next year is the key for Gib and the Bows. Need to be more than a barely .500 team against lower level competition. I like Gib and his attitude about building something out here with younger players. But people will not wait forever for the building process to be finished. He gets a pass on the first year recruiting class but now has had several years of his recruits learning his system. As in everything other endeavor, time for results. We have gone from handling a team like Michigan State to being routed by Cal Poly. Really?? Step up or Mr. Jay will be bringing in his own guy. As a long time hoops fan I hope to see the team and coach come out next year and have a banner year. Get back to 8000+ in the arena and make it a big time college basketball atmosphere again.

  15. Alex:

    One thing that you got to appreciate is that more students are turning out for the games. It's easy to get excited over this years freshmen class with players like Fotu, Jawato and Clair. We have the potential to be a good team in the future, but if players keep on leaving early like previous years classes it will hard to maintain continuity to build a successful program.

  16. hon2255:

    Points maded by Hoosier and Alex, but getting 8000plus to see Northridge and Cal Poly is a stretch, no matter how good we are , the Big West should be a temporary stepping stone to get to the Mountain West for men's bb. We need to have some stability , in a better conference we should have the ability to recruit better athletes , the good ones dont want to play in high school gyms like the Big West.

  17. Rainbowbball:

    Would I be happier in a bigger and more talented MWC or would the Big West satisfy me?
    With this team and this Coach, the Big West is the best place, talking about bigger and better is crazy. Why would Hawaii want to be the laughing stock of the MWC. The present team has a chance to make history, Win, and go to the Big Dance and win there. Yes, no quality point guard, ask yourself, how many games went by before the Coach, started to have a another player help bring up the ball, lose the ball or good position in the post? If you want to go to a better conference, win bigtime close games, not lose games when you have the lead, then remember the players only play, they do not devise tactics for those situations, the Coach does. Lets go to the big dance and win more games on national tv.
    Anyway, Win, Win and Win, before talking about MWC and spending more money, I dont think the fans will come out just for MWC opponnets. Its Big West for me. Is the conference tournament a netural site??

  18. HawaiiMongoose:

    One step at at time. Win in the Big West. We haven't done it yet. Then push for the MWC.

  19. K-Bay:

    ONE Step at a Time?

    I SUGGEST We Need to MULTI-TRACK and Pursue EVERY Option Available
    Or Even "Possibly Available" in the Future...

    Agree we are Fortunate to have the Big West Now -- it helped us escape the failing WAC and get our 'Big Toe' (football) in the door with the Mountain West -- although i understand we were NOT welcomed for basketball, it IS One of the Next Progressions and we should get in while the 12-Team Transition and Re-Alignment Doors are Open...BEFORE someone else like New Mexico State or Other beats us there...

    FURTHER WE Need to Understand WHAT COLORADO AND UTAH used to get into the PAC-12 -- while many or Most think the PAC-12 made a horrid mistake letting them in -- other than $Money$ (Income/Budget is a Huge Key), Utah's BCS Success (versus our loss) and a Long-Gone Colorado Heritage which they haven't been able to come close to re-creating, Ben Jay & Co. should be able to at least argue/present more ...

    although Probably NEED to Boost UP & Fix the Financial and Competitive Budget before the PAC-Haves even consider us a 'wanna-talk' or viable wanna-be...

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